'Arbeit Macht Frei' sign at Dachau.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
German police have launched an investigation into the theft of the infamous iron sign on the gate of the entrance to the Dachau concentration camp that reads "Arbeit mach Frei" (work sets you free).
A search in the vicinity of the memorial was initially unsuccessful, according to the report. Police could not confirm whether a neo-Nazi or a "collector" was behind the theft
According to German news magazine Der Spiegel, police noticed that the black wrought iron door with the Nazi slogan had gone missing early Sunday morning.
.In December 2009, thieves stole the "Arbeit macht frei" sign at the entrance to Auschwitz. A few days later, police found the sign in three parts disassembled in northern Poland. Several offenders were sentenced to prison terms, including a Swede who was accused of having instructed the theft.
The Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem on Sunday condemned the incident at Dachau.
"While we do not know who is behind the theft of the sign, the theft of such a symbolic object is an offensive attack on the memory of the Holocaust," read a statement from Yad Vashem.
Dachau was the first concentration camp set up by the Nazis in 1933. More than 40 thousand people died in the camp until its liberation by the US on April 29, 1945.